Massachusetts forced to make changes after racist test question hurt some students
Massachusetts education officials have waived the passing score for some students after a study found that their overall performance on the state’s required high school graduation test may have been hurt by a racist question the state was forced to pull after outcry. The question required 10th-grade students to read a passage of Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer Prize- and National Book Award-winning novel The Underground Railroad and write an essay from the perspective of a racist character.
State education commissioner Jeffrey Riley strenuously downplayed the negative effects of the question, but told school superintendents that “out of an abundance of caution” the state would waive the passing score for students who had been on track to pass the exam until they got to that question. The state will also allow students to retake the test if they missed the score needed to qualify for free tuition at state universities and colleges.
Maybe in the future it would be better to just leave the racist questions off of required high-stakes tests.